FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas is spending its bye week recruiting, and attempting to recover from a 28-7 loss to TCU last Saturday.
Arkansas will look to rebound from the defeat Saturday, Sept. 23, against SEC West rival Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas. The Aggies have won the past five games in the series.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema addressed the media Wednesday. Here’s the rundown of what he had to say:
- Bielema: “We always try to put the game behind us from Saturday whether it’s a win or a loss.” This week was a little different considering the bye and how disappointing the loss was. Bielema says his coordinators watched the game with each side of the ball Sunday. On Tuesday, the players came back and watched the game again with their position coaches.
- The defense had a higher missed tackle rate against TCU than in the first game or any of their scrimmages. Bielema was pleased with how well they lined up and ran to spots, but the missed tackles were a glaring disappointment.
- The team is actually healthier now than the week leading up to the TCU game.
- Bielema says heading into the game they hadn’t been able to practice full speed on offense. He hints that was the case because of some injuries and players could not practice. He does not indicated specifically who those players were.
- Bielema on the second-half offense: “Our lack of production in the second half offensively is something that’s very real and we have to have a plan to fix. If something needs attention, we need to respond to it.”
- Bielema says the inexperience on offense is a big part of the failures against TCU. “You unfortunately go through some growing pains. Obviously they’re there and we’ve got to deal with them. We missed out on some key big-play opportunities.”
- Running back Chase Hayden only had two carries against TCU. Bielema says he was “not happy” with that and it was addressed. Hayden rushed for 120 yards in his debut against Florida A&M. Bielema says he addressed Hayden’s lack of touches with running backs coach Reggie Mitchell, who decides the running back rotation.
- Bielema does not feel the need to make any wholesale changes. “It was a 14-7 game with 2 minutes left. I get it, they scored two touchdowns left.” He adds he does not feel the team is that far off.
- Bielema says the offensive line needs to understand “what the SEC strain is all about.” He says there were some 10-yard runs that would’ve been touchdowns with more strain from his offensive line.
- Kicker Cole Hedlund missed two field goals inside 23 yards against TCU. Bielema has not committed to a kicker going forward. “There has been no bigger supporter of Cole Hedlund than myself. I will reserve judgement on who will be our kicker until I see the next two weeks.” Blake Mazza and Connor Limpert are options to potentially replace Hedlund.
- Bielema also appears upset about the backlash over his comments on the kicking game Saturday. “I didn’t call [Hedlund] juvenile, I called the situation that. You guys are writers, you can figure that out.”